Quality insurance without the hullabaloo

Call us on 01904 476098

Common fire hazards

Unexpected causes you might not know about

Common fire hazards in the home

Not all house fires are caused by accidents in the kitchen or carelessness with candles. We’ve picked out some of the more unexpected fire hazards that you should be aware of, from decorative fairy lights to a build-up of crumbs in the toaster.

In the Living Room

Hands working on electrical wiring

Household wiring

It’s easy to overlook potential fire hazards that you can’t immediately see, so it’s vital that household wiring is checked for signs of wear and tear.
A registered electrician should check the electrical installation of your house, however there are a number of day-to-day visual checks homeowners can carry out themselves, such as checking plugs and sockets for signs of damage.

For more information, visit the Electrical Safety First website.

Hand plugging in plug to extension lead

Electrical products

Many domestic fires in the UK arise from an electrical source.
Adaptor plugs and other household electrical products should always be purchased from reputable sources, to avoid sub-standard and potentially dangerous electrical parts.
Overloading electrical sockets is another fire risk and if extension bars are being used, the total amps should not exceed the limit specified (this is usually 10-13amps).

Cartoon man holding large magnifying glass


Most of us don’t think twice about placing glass ornaments or a vase on a windowsill, but it’s important to be aware that this can be a fire risk if your window is a sun trap.
Glassware can cause a magnifying effect on a particularly sunny day and if the sun’s rays become focused on a patch of carpet or curtains, this can cause a fire.

Girl holding feather duster


If dust builds up near electrical sockets or around heaters it can ignite and cause a fire, so the area around them should be vacuumed regularly.

Map of world covered in fairy lights

Fairy lights

As pretty as they are to come home to, fairy lights should be turned off when leaving the house as they can be a fire risk.

In the Kitchen

Kitchen counter covered in washing up

Cluttered kitchens

Household fires often occur in the kitchen, usually started in a moment of distraction whilst cooking or by faulty electrical appliances.
Cluttered kitchens are another hazard to be aware of, particularly when tea towels and other flammable items are left too close to the hob.

Two slices of toast in toaster

Toaster crumbs

A build-up of crumbs in the toaster not only creates a lot of smoke (and sets the smoke alarm off every time you try to make breakfast), but they can easily spark and cause a kitchen fire.

Deep fat frying chips

Deep fat frying

Those with a penchant for fried foods should invest in an electric deep-fat fryer with a thermostat, as a pan full of spitting, hot oil is not only dangerous to be around, but if it overheats it can easily cause a fire.

In the Bedroom

Unmade bed with white bedding

Electric blankets

Electric blankets should carry the British Standard Kitemark and the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB) symbol on them and should never be folded to protect the wiring.

Girl straightening hair

Hair styling tools

Forgetting to unplug your hair straighteners and other styling tools when you’re in a rush can result in a blaze quicker than you might think.
They should always be unplugged after use and placed on a heatproof mat.

Wardrobe full of clothes

Cluttered cupboards

You may not think a cluttered cupboard is a big issue, but hoarding is a major fire risk – especially if your storage cupboard has a light source.
Clothing and other combustible materials can ignite when in too close contact with an exposed, hot light bulb.

Four red candles


There’s nothing like a candle to help you de-stress, but they should always be placed in a candle holder and at least 10cm apart – and never under shelving or other surfaces.

Want more FREE tips for your home?

Subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when we publish more useful free guides


Follow us on social media